The Empire Strikes Back Screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan reveals what it was like seeing the film for the first time

Following the success of The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark, Lawrence Kasdan also co-wrote Return of the Jedi and embarked on a writing/directing career that included such cinematic gems as The Big Chill. “Body Heat”, “The Accidental Tourist” and “Grand Canyon”. He also returned to the world of Star Wars, working on The Force Awakens and Solo: A Star Wars Story.

He has now directed Light and Magic, a six-part documentary that tells the story of Industrial Light and Magic, the visual effects company that George Lucas founded to create Star Wars. Since then, ILM has become the world’s most famous, innovative and sought-after VFX store, with the company and its stellar roster of artists creating some of the most innovative effects of all time.

The way ILM brought his The Empire Strikes Back script to screen solidified Kasdan’s respect for what the company can do. “It’s wonderful, it’s amazing,” he tells Looper of seeing the film for the first time. “You feel like you’ve wandered into some kind of magical land that you didn’t even know existed.”

Kasdan’s documentary is a tribute to the spirit, energy and talent that has fueled ILM for decades, the same elements that brought his first screenplay to amazing life on screen. “One of the things that I think is found in [series] I was surprised how many people like Steven Spielberg, George and [Robert] Zemeckis and [James] Cameron depended on ILM,” he says. “They said, ‘This is what I want.’ You can do that?’ And ILM didn’t always know how to do it, but they were determined to help these directors achieve those goals.”

Light & Magic is now streaming on Disney+.

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